Monday, March 26, 2012

Christians Demand Gas Facility like that Available in Other Muslim Homes -- Still Waiting.

Inequality and segregation are facts of life for religious minorities in Pakistan.

For those of us in the Western world looking into developmental projects for the Christian minority in Pakistan here's a start -- 

Christian chlidren standing infront of a makeshift home.

Pakistani Christian Post reports:

Mandi Bahauddin: March 25, 2012. (Sher Gondal) Christian community comprising about thirty families residing in a locality in Gurha Mohalla have demanded of government to provide them gas facility. Mr. Michel, a local leader of the Christians said gas facility in their surrounding localities is available but despite their repeated requests, concerned authorities did not pay any heed to their problems. He said recently their delegation met to ex-MPA Wahida Hameed who had promised to contact Sui Gas Company for supply of gas.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jizya imposed on Essa Nagri Christians.

**Thanks to BPCA for this article**

Traffic jam in the Essa Nagri area, Karachi.

By Wilson Chowdhry

Essa Nagri is a densly populated Christian community in Karachi. The total population of Essa Nagri is said to be close to 50,000 men, women and children.

Christians living there suffer great poverty, however, they are strong believers and church attendance is very good. Essa nagri is served by over 15 established churches of varying denominations; Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Church of Pakistan, Philadelphia Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army. In addition to this many other large and small Ministries are also working in Essa Nagri.

During the last six months, Essa Nagri people have been subjected to increasing attacks from local Islamic militants. The militants are entering Essa Nagri with guns, machine guns, pistols and other modern weapons. They enter the Christian colony and loot the community. Incidents include; snatching mobile phones, obtaining Jizya tax under duress - often at gun point and violent attacks on innocent victims simply for fun. As they leave they celebrate their haul by firing their guns in the air and whooping! This is causing significant fear in the local community.

Mission and Action for Social Services (MASS) Karachi, Pakistan. Is an organization working for the rights of Christians. MASS has filed a written complaint in P.I.B Police Station Karachi on 21-03-2012. They have also written a complaint to the Director General of Pakistan Rangers on 23-03-2012.

A spokesperson said:

"We have called on both bodies to take action against these terrorists."

The BPCA has been advised that as we write this article violents attacks have continued since the two letters detailed above and no action to curb the activity has been initiated.

An Essa Nagri resident said;

" We are not cowards but we don't have weapons, how we can fight against these terrorists."

The BPCA has responded to a MASS appeal for pray and calls for Christians across the Globe to pray for the Christians of Essa Nagri. Pray for direct Government intervention to ensue, and for it to be effective in alleviating the suffering of this beleaguered community.

Unsavory Islam: 'Pious' Pakistanis Abduct, Convert and Sell Christian Girls

Reported by -- Unsavory Islam:

“I saw two of my daughters being raped in front of me,” an old lady from Essa Nagri told The News. “It is considered that Chooras have no integrity.” She says that around midnight, men from other areas start gathering in their neighbourhood. “They are usually drunk. They choose which home they will plunder.”

She adds that one night they stormed into her home and raped two of her girls, while she “was locked in another room hearing their cries for help”. “I am a widow without any financial prospects, but I did go to the MPA representing us. What good is he if he can’t do anything to protect us?” The fear to report these cases is such that at first, no one even admits that an incident of rape or torture has taken place.

Forcible conversions

Within the past three months, nine women have been abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. MPA Javed adds that the purpose is not to gain good deeds, but to sell them. A majority of the Christian girls converted are married, he says.

According to reports he received from different areas of the city, the abducted women are later sold to feudal lords in Sindh and Punjab. Citing a recent example, Javed says that in Essa Nagri, a 23-year-old married girl was forcibly remarried to a 60-year-old Muslim man, who was notorious for selling girls.

Javed said that the man was known to be pious, but had a side business of selling Christian girls. He says many people apart from him knew the truth. The only information that the family received was by a phone call through which they were informed by somebody that their girl is in Punjab.

He points out that there is a judgment by the Lahore High Court which clearly states that a “married Christian woman cannot be remarried to a Muslim even if converted,” but these cases do not even go to the police to be challenged in the high courts.

Brothel beside a church --

Ayub Goth, near the Meteorological Department, is another area known for ethnic and religious discord. The Christians living in the area complain that a brothel was recently established right beside a Catholic church in the area.

In the evening women from outside are brought by “some people.” Residents say that these people have enough political clout to ensure that no one dares raise a finger.

Chaudhry, a former councillor of the area, says that the residents have grown tired of squabbling for space and now offer their prayers in a school right behind the church.

Munawar Baig, a resident of the area, says that if the same thing occurred in a Muslim dominated area, it would have been “treated differently”.

“We are not going anywhere,” says Abraham Masih, an 80-year-old resident of Ayub Goth. “We were born here and we’ll die here. I cannot preach with a gun, I can only pray for such people.”

“I have read the Bible as well as the Holy Quran and know for a fact that the religion does not use force on any one. It is not meant to make lives miserable for other people. If only those who cry about knowing the religion would understand that,” adds Javed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hundreds of Pakistani Women Murdered in Honor Killings

Friday March 23, 2012

More than 900 women died last year in so-called honor killings in Pakistan, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's annual report.

The HRCP reported 93 minors among those who were murdered. Seven Christians were also reportedly among the victims.

"Throughout the year, women were callously killed in the name of 'honor' when they went against family wishes in any way, or even on the basis of suspicion that they did so," the HRCP stated.

"Women were sometimes killed in the name of 'honor' over property disputes and inheritance rights," the commission said.

Nearly 600 of the women killed were accused of having "illicit relations," and more than 200 were murdered for marrying without permission.

The Pakistani parliament has recently approved new measures aimed at protecting women.

But many activists say the government needs harsher punishments for abusers and those who carry out honor killings.

"While some progressive legislation concerning women was passed in the National Assembly, there is the need to follow up on its implementation and for there to be exemplary cases," the report stated.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Walid Shoebat New Initiative: Rescue Christians in Pakistan -- 2Part series.

God bless brother Shoebat for his work; the videos include testimony from the family and victims of well known cases of persecution within our community. Bro Walid was born into a muslim family and at one point in his life was so entranced by Islamic propoganda that he became a terrorist himself. Thank GOD that Jesus waits for each one of us, and the moment that Walid Shoebat looked His way -- Jesus swept him off his feet and into the blessed Love of God.

Now he works to not only support Christians that are suffering from men the likes of what he could have become without Christ; but he is constantly educating the world about the realities of extremist Islam and persecution of religious minorities.

It's a deeply sorrowful watch but another reminder of what we are working for.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

PC Exclusive - 2nd Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom & Governance Invitation

Hello Everyone!

I'd like to send out a quick invitation to those of you who are interested and have been working within your communities; having an interest specifically in how religion affects human rights and governance.

MP David Anderson is hosting a second parliamentary forum on religious freedom and governance in Ottawa this April 2nd, 2012, and has graciously invited us to come and learn from the panelists/presentations, and join in the discussion that will follow. 

RSVP is a MUST. Below the invitation I'm also attaching the press release that Mr. Anderson's fabulous assistant Ms. Joycelin NG was kind enough to forward to me; please take a look and give them a call if you wish to participate in the forum!! Should be a very intriguing and insightful event!

Contact her at: 613-995-1616 OR

Anderson Promotes Global Awareness on Religious Freedom

(Ottawa, ON, March 21, 2012), On April 2nd, David Anderson, MP for Cypress Hills-Grasslands, will host the Second Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom and Governance.

With approximately one third of the world’s population living in countries where either government restrictions or social hostilities inhibit the free practice of religious beliefs, this event seeks to raise awareness of the religious persecution so many face around the world.

“As the exercise of freedom, the right to change religion and the ability to practice faith freely becomes increasingly difficult, Canadians can provide leadership to protect this fundamental human right,” said Anderson.

Parliamentarians, faith and community leaders will participate. Presentations, panels and open discussions will deal with governance, the reality of religious restrictions, and ways in which Canadians can respond to this pressing global issue.

“As an MP, I have seen first-hand the positive effects of faith communities working together. Last year’s forum on religious persecution was well received and I expect we will have another lively discussion,” concluded Anderson.

The media and any concerned person are invited to attend this event. It will take place from 6pm to 9pm on April 2nd at the Government Conference Centre on 2 Rideau Street (55 Colonel By Dr) in Ottawa, ON.

For further event information, please contact:

Joycelin NG

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sinners Among Saints - Christians of Pakistan

Amazing 5minute trailer of a documentary describing religious persecution in Pakistan -- a MUST SEE!

Written by: Aliya Salahuddin
Directed by: Niccolo Piazza
Produced by: Moonweed Digital Productions

Pakistani cultural hub: Awakening envisioned

Posted on Mar 21, 2012 | by Laura Fielding

EDITOR'S NOTE: With more than half of the world's population now living in cities, Baptist Press is taking a multi-part look at a number of the world's major metropolises, such as Lahore, Pakistan. The series by International Mission Board writers, which is appearing each Wednesday in BP, will highlight the multiple people groups living side by side in the cities. Many come from hard-to-reach places but now, as city dwellers, they are more accessible than ever before to share the Gospel.

LAHORE, Pakistan (BP) -- The streets of the ancient city of Lahore, Pakistan, anchor majestic buildings in a blend of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indian architecture. Known as the cultural capital of Pakistan, Lahore is the country's second-largest city and the capital of the influential Punjab province.

The challenges of a Muslim-dominant culture are evident throughout Lahore, Pakistan, regarded as the country's cultural capital. Christian workers nevertheless are seeking to rekindle the flame of an awakening that swept into the Punjab region in the early 1900s.
It is in this rich setting IMB worker Worth Ballinger* sees "great opportunities to reach those that are Christian by name only, as well as interact with the lost and encourage believers to reach out to them."

Ballinger, alongside colleagues and Lahore's Christian community, works to strengthen disciples and plant churches, a significant challenge in such a diverse city. While Punjabi Muslims are most prevalent -- with a shared language that strengthens their social group -- all of Pakistan's major demographic groups can be found among Lahore's 10 million people.

Approximately 95 percent of the city is Muslim, while the remaining population is a mix of Christian and other religions. "There's actually a big Christian minority [in Lahore] -- big for Pakistan," Ballinger says.

Despite the Christian presence in Lahore, persecution is a reality for new believers stemming from a wave of extremism that has swept across the region in recent years. Muslim-background believers, wary of constant surveillance, tend to lead quiet lives for fear of persecution.

Muslims who convert to Christianity could be disowned by their families, divorced by their spouses, forced to flee the region or even killed. Less extreme persecution comes in the form of verbal torment: Muslims call Christians the derogatory term "sweeper." Children even tease their classmates with this slur.

Christian-background believers also face challenges. A great awakening in the Punjab in the early 1900s saw about 100,000 Hindus become believers. Although many churches began from the genuine faith that marked the early movement, subsequent generations lacked sustained discipleship and leadership development. Now, many who call themselves Christian do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

"Many of them are not aware of what it means to personally decide to follow Christ," Ballinger explains. "Instead, they are born into 'Christian' families. ... It has more to do with ethnicity or culture than faith."

Ballinger adds, "[Some] born into these Christian families will become Muslim because they think it will help them in status, [and to] just quit dealing with persecution."

Yet despite many obstacles, God is at work in Lahore.

After moving to Lahore with his wife Aleta* and their children, Ballinger faced discouragement and asked God to remind him why he was working in this difficult city. That same day Ballinger met a Muslim man who had received a copy of the "JESUS" film and wanted to know more about Christianity.

Ballinger gladly shared the Gospel with the man. Over time and despite persecution from his family, the man came to accept Christ.

"To see how God can use whomever He calls ... [is] a pretty amazing thing for us," Ballinger says. "There's nothing like it. There's nothing close to being able to walk in step with the Lord and see Him guide each day and use you, and people's lives be impacted."
*Names changed. Laura Fielding is a writer for the International Mission Board.

PC Exclusive - March 19th, 2012 - Interviewed by Michael Coren on The Arena (Sun News Network)

Hi everyone!

So recently I received an amazing opportunity to go on the Michael Coren show for a short interview about my thoughts as a Christian from Pakistan, on the persecution that my community faces there.

I met Mr. Coren by chance at a conference that we both attended earlier in the month and he invited me on his show; such a blessing!

Off the bat I was super nervous as I'd never been interviewed before, it's much easier to write your thoughts as I do here and be able to read them over and over until I'm quite satisfied; but when it's live it's a whole 'nother story!

Thank God it went well, and I'm happy for this chance and for the many more I hope will follow for myself and others in my community to speak out and share their thoughts to a larger audience!

Also there are two things I'd like to clear up:
1. CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) gives 80% of it's aid to only 20 countries in the world, one of them being Pakistan; Pakistan according to their source gets about 80MILLION DOLLARS a year for development projects - all of these projects are directed on the whole to the majority population (including the 33 operational projects, and 43 to be terminated this year that I mentioned in the interview.

2. Shahbaz Taseer was kidnapped by the Pakistani Taliban - they have admitted this kidnapping and I mistakenly said Al Quaeda.

Thank you Jesus! and Thanks to everyone who continues to work for the freedom of our persecuted brothers and sisters in Pakistan! God bless

- Serena

Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Founder of Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba Militant Group, Pledges to Wage Jihad against the US and India and Says: "Atomic Pakistan Will Shine on the Map of the World"

UN Speech by French Journalist that Interviewed Asia Bibi: Asks For Her Immediate Release.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Horrifying Story posted via Compass Direct - and yes that DOES say SODOMIZE down there.. (as in RAPE).

Brother of Muslim who insisted on having beard cut, seven others, break hair-cutter’s bones.
SARGODHA, Pakistan, April 28 (CDN) — A Christian barber in this Punjab Province city is still recovering from broken bones and other injuries sustained earlier this month after eight Muslims allegedly beat and sodomized him for cutting the beard of a Muslim.

Marwat Masih, 29, initially refused the request of 19-year-old Qandeel Cheema to cut his beard in Sargodha’s Gulshan-e-Bashir town on April 13, knowing that area Sunni Muslims believe the Quran prohibits it. But Cheema, a high school student, told Masih that he had lived and studied in Lahore and therefore wanted a more modern look, the bed-ridden and feeble Masih told Compass.

“I refused to shave his beard, but he showed me his packed bags and said that he would leave the town straight after the shave, and so no one would ever know that I had shaved his beard,” Masih said.

Eyewitnesses told Compass that as Masih was cutting Cheema’s beard, the client’s older brother – local radical Muslim land owner Shakeel Cheema – was returning by tractor from his fields and, noting the family Jeep in front of the Marwat Hair Stylist shop, stopped in.

“When Shakeel Cheema saw me shaving his younger brother’s beard, he became angry and started vandalizing mirrors, the sound system and chairs, and he desecrated a wooden cross perched on the top of the front mirrors,” Masih said. “He also started beating my head with his shoes.”

Eyewitnesses told Compass that Shakeel Cheema shouted orders to his companions to tie Masih up and throw him into the wagon attached to his tractor, and that he ordered his younger brother to leave for Lahore at once.

Masih said that he was blindfolded with a black cloth and taken to an unknown place where he was locked in a room. An hour later, Shakeel Cheema and seven others arrived and began striking him with clubs, breaking his ribs, a wrist and leg bones.

“Shakeel Cheema said, ‘Now we are going to teach you a real lesson for shaving the beard of a Muslim man,” Masih said, and after a long, pained pause he related how Cheema and the seven others sodomized him. “I started bleeding and fell unconscious.”

2 PC Cent's - 2012 John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights & Freedoms Award

This past week it was my pleasure to attend the ceremony of the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedoms Award. This year’s honorees are two of the most incredible people I have ever had the honor myself of encountering. One as many of us are aware, was our martyr Shahbaz Bhatti (former Federal Minister for Minorities, Pakistan) and the second was an incredibly courageous and humble woman by the name of Susana Trimarco.

An image of the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights & Freedoms Award
Her story is exceptionally heartbreaking: in 2002 her daughter Marita, a mother herself of a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, was abducted while at a doctor’s appointment. According to witnesses, she was taken and believed to be forced into prostitution. Susana wouldn’t give up on Marita; she actually dressed up like a prostitute herself and went from brothel to brothel searching for her beloved daughter. She continually faced both threats and danger towards her own life but neither saw nor felt anything but the love she had for her child who she knew was out there somewhere.

In 2007 she founded “Fundación María de los Angeles” (Foundation of Maria of the Angels); a foundation which she continues to use to not only bring awareness about forced prostitution and sexual slavery – but to rescue and return the girls that have been oppressed by it. Ms. Trimarco has rescued and rehabilitated countless women from all over Argentina and the surrounding areas from prostitution and sexual slavery.


When I spoke to Susana at the post-ceremony reception I had barely any words for her. All I could say is “I hope you find your daughter,” at which she grasped my hands in her own and looked into my eyes saying “This is all I want. She is why I’ll never stop.” I prayed God bless her and her family, and her daughter wherever she might be and moved on but I will never forget the look in her eyes, nor the determination with which she spoke because THAT is what I know we all feel for our own.

We too have sisters, brothers, father and mothers, aunts and uncles, we have friends – church members, neighbors – each and every one of us knows someone that has been affected by persecution. That determination is what unites us; to see justice for those who have been hurt, and freedom for those who are in the line of fire.

Left to right: Hon Minister John Baird, MP Joy Smith, Susana Trimarco, Peter Bhatti, Hon Minister Jason Kenney.

So who was John Diefenbaker?

Canada's 13th Prime Minister John Diefenbaker greets a First Nations woman and young boy.
An incredible man on a mission to make Canada a place where residents of the land became citizens of the nation; he felt that despite their cultural differences all citizens of Canada were entitled to certain rights, such as the right to vote. With this belief he attempted to go forth and right the wrongs that were committed against the Natives of Canada; creating harmony between them and the Federal Government by extension of the franchise (right to vote) in 1960 by changing the section of the Indian Act which denied them that right, and signing the Canadian Bill of Rights.


Before 1960, First Nations people although the land was their own, were not allowed to even VOTE for the people that governed it – after the two World Wars even, First Nations veterans were enfranchised only if they gave up their Indian Status; and only 250 men voluntarily accepted this offer.

Natives were known as federal “wards”.

Diefenbaker’s government was with him in this effort; especially Senator James Gladstone (the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Senate).

Why am I sharing this? Because: as Pakistani Christians, we too are natives in a land where we have been displaced. Before learning more, it may not be immediately apparent, the relationship we have with this story but it’s definitely there.

First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 63 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia.

Although it was not without conflict or slavery, the Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Metis and Inuit populations were relatively non-combative compared to the often violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States; this allowed the First Nations peoples to have a strong influence on national culture here in Canada, while preserving their own identities.

It may not have been as violent as in other places, yet colonization came at a price for these people. They were made hostage in their own homes; a feeling that our community knows all too well even today. This is why this award named after one of the men who made defending human rights and freedoms possible in Canada is such an honor for us all.

Like the leader that we all hold dear, martyr Shahbaz Bhatti; Diefenbaker saw a people that needed and deserved equality and justice. Freedom of oppression and freedom to be who they were culturally (and by faith) with equal opportunity granted to all citizens. I believe this is why Shahbaz Bhatti was chosen to receive this award. I also believe that if these two men and this woman have lived by these ideals and met some form of accomplishment through them, then they are by no means rare.

I’m looking forward to more leaders rising up and following in the footsteps of these men, risking their careers, their personal lives – even their lives to show the world that the atrocity of persecution will not lay unnoticed nor unchallenged.

Men like our own federal ministers Jason Kenney and John Baird, who graciously honored the Bhatti family with the award for martyr Shahbaz on March 14th, 2012 in Ottawa at the John Diefenbaker Building. Along with our courageous and outspoken Prime Minister Stephen Harper they are continuing to challenge the world to step forward and own up to the heinous crimes taking place everywhere against Christians – against all human life.

Spreading democracy is not about forcing people to commit to voting or governing a certain way; it’s about ensuring that life is valued and that every individual has the opportunity to flourish in whichever way they choose.

So thank you to this government; thank you to all our Conservative Party supporters; thank you to John Diefenbaker for setting this precedence, and thank you Shahbaz – thank you again most of all for giving our people hope, for setting this issue on fire with your vision and your persistence. Thank you for giving your life.

The Canadian Bill of Rights (1960), click to enlarge.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pakistani Woman Charged with Blasphemy for Rejecting Islam

Another mother finds herself behind -- at least for the Christian population in Pakistan -- seemingly impenetrable bars. Blasphemy strikes again in the life of another Christian mother and we sit back and watch as another family is destroyed by the disturbing and unholy views of an extremist population. Who will rescue this woman, who will give her baby the love that only a mother can as she rots in prison -- or underground.

Who will satisfy the bloodlust of this country; willing at a moments notice to throw up arms/bullets/grenades against the hint of spoken words, but unmotivated to even think logically against sin/corruption/the rabid immorality of Pakistan.

It seems the country of my birth will never fail to disappoint me with an every day saga of horror.

From the Global Christian Voice

A young mother has been falsely accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, because she rebuffed attempts by relatives who had converted to Islam to force her to renounce her Christian faith, family members said.

Police in Khichiwala, Bahawalnagar district, in Punjab Province, charged 26-year-old Shamim Bibi, mother of a 5-month-old girl and resident of the village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area, under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.

Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.

The young woman’s brother, Ilyas Masih, and her brother-in-law, Shahbaz Masih, told Compass that she had been wrongly accused because she had resisted pressure to convert to Islam four days before her arrest.
“Nazeeran, sister of Shamim’s husband Bashir Masih, and her nephew Nadeem and niece Bella accepted Islam on Feb. 24 and called on her to do the same,” Masih said. “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert.”

He said the newly-converted Muslims persisted in trying to force her to convert, but she resisted.
“Shamim told them that she had complete faith in a living God, and that there was no reason for her to start ‘worshiping graves,’” Masih said.

That remark was not the one deemed “blasphemous.” Rather, on Feb. 27 her neighbors accused her of making derogatory remarks – as yet unknown – on a separate occasion about Muhammad while in her courtyard.

Ansar Ali Shah, a local prayer leader in Chak 170/7R Colony, claimed that Shamim Bibi’s neighbors, Hamad Ahmed Hashmi and Abdul Qayyum, told him and other Muslims that they had heard the Christian woman making derogatory remarks about Muhammad in her courtyard, according to the First Information Report (FIR No. 30/12) registered by the Khichiwala police station. But there is no indication in the FIR of what, exactly, Shamim Bibi was alleged to have said.

As word of the allegation spread, a large crowd of villagers besieged her house and demanded “severe punishment for the infidel,” claiming she had hurt their religious sentiments, sources said.

Shahbaz Masih, her brother-in-law, told Compass that Qayyum, one of the two men named in the FIR as witnesses, has denied hearing anything from Shamim Bibi that supports the charge.

“Qayyum told police that he wasn’t even present in his house at the time of the alleged incident and had come to know about it from Hamad, the other witness,” Shahbaz Masih said.

Hamad Ahmed Hashmi, a motorized-rickshaw driver, also was not present at his house at 3 p.m., the time of the alleged remark, Shahbaz Masih said, based on information gathered from Shamim Bibi’s neighborhood.
“Hamad transports schoolchildren and could not have been in his house at the time of the incident, as it was just after school closing hours,” he said.

Bahawalnagar Superintendent of Police Investigation Irfan Ullah acknowledged that one of the two witnesses had admitted to not being present at the alleged “crime” scene at the time of the alleged remark.

“Qayyum told us that he hadn’t witnessed the incident and his name had been included in the FIR by the locals, but still that does not prove that Shamim did not commit blasphemy,” Ullah told Compass by phone. “The other witness is standing by his claim, and she has produced nothing so far which can prove her innocence.”

He vehemently denied that police had caved in to pressure from local Muslims and had registered a case in undue haste.

“I visited the village twice, and so far nothing has come up that suggests that the people have accused Shamim wrongly,” Ullah said. “We registered a case against her on the directions of the district police officer.”
Bahawalnagar District Police Officer Salman Ali Khan could not be reached for comment.

Shamim Bibi’s family and her infant daughter, meantime, may have to wait for a long time for her return. While no one has been executed for blasphemy in Pakistan, most are freed on appeal after suffering for years under appalling prison conditions.

Vigilantes have killed at least 10 people accused of blasphemy, rights groups estimate.

Section 295-C of Pakistan’s blasphemy law states: “Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rome Reports: Christian Persecution in Africa, Middle East and Asia increased by 309%

Rome Reports is the source for news and research coming from within the Vatican. Some of it's newest research has indicated the insanely elevated rise in terrorist attacks against Christians, specifically in areas where they are considered to be minority groups; 309% increase in fact.That's not a couple of hits here and there, it's a MAJOR problem. Keep praying everyone, and keep reminding your fellow Canadians and Member Parliaments of the dire importance of this concern.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pakistan: Living in the Past, Today.

So honestly, I had to go and ask my dad what any of this meant so for those of you that are unaware of some of the terms being used in the article let me define them here for you:

JIRGA is an assembly of elders of a tribe or locality that considers any criminal or social issue brought before them. In this article's case it is used as a system of justice; whereby the Jirga is called to pronounce judgement and punishment towards the women who have allegedly committed a "crime".

KARI is a woman who has been judged and blamed for being a willing participant in an illicit relationship.

After learning their primitive meanings and usage, I can understand this horrifying incident even more. The nurturing of these people and in turn their inherent understanding of honor and crime are far different from our own. In fact, primitive is really the right word. In a world where we have come to a greater understanding and value of life, relationships - gained the understanding to punish according to the "crime" or even the difference between an ethical and criminal matter - Pakistan and many other countries in the Middle East and around the world continue to be overcast with people who live and act like they are in the "past"; well more like they never left it.

This creates a dangerous environment, especially for those who do not accept the obsolete ideals of these communities.

Tribal men in Pakistan, not part of the article.. he just looked so happy I had to post it.

Here's the article:

SARGODHA: Kot Momin police have registered a murder case against a man accused of killing his two sisters after they were declared kari by a jirga.

Investigation Officer SI Rab Nawaz said a team had been formed to arrest the suspect, Farman, 27, who had fled the area after killing his sisters – Kahkshan, 20, and Afshan, 24. He said the FIR had been registered on a complaint filed by Rana Qadeer, father of the deceased girls. The bodies had been sent for a post mortem examination.

Police said the jirga had been held after the two girls had returned home from Lahore over a week ago.

He quoted the family as saying that they had persuaded the girls to return by assuring them of their safety. But, he said, they later organised a jirga which decided that it was a matter of honour and pardoning the deceased would bring disgrace to the family. The women were then strangled by their brother on directives of the jirga at their home in Mohllah Dak-Khana.

Police said the two women had fled home and moved to Lahore over a month ago. They said there was no information about the women’s motive behind fleeing home or the person with whom they stayed in Lahore.

They said the family had sought intervention of their contacts in Lahore to persuade the women to return home.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Imran, a cousin of the deceased women, justified their killing.

He said the women had deserved the punishment for showing disobedience to elders. He said everyone in the family was unanimous in declaring them kari.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.

While the World Celebrates Women - Police RAPES a CHRISTIAN CHILD in Pakistan.

 Thanks to Answering Muslims for posting this previously.

Well needless to say, I'm disgusted.

There are no words to describe the complex levels of disgust that I feel, and I'm not about to post a picture of myself retching while reading this article but I will say this: I have no clue how men of any age find it in any way "satisfying" to force sexual relations on children. None of this is holy, none of this is honorable, none of this is manly or pure. In NO WAY should anyone feel joy or pride in the way that these people conduct themselves. This could have been me, this could have been YOUR daughter, your mother, your sisters, your aunts. This could have been your neighbor. If we weren't all enormously blessed to be living in Canada it just might have been us, and the stats are up against the majority of us - had we been in Pakistan - to have not experienced this kind of assault. This is just no way to live.

Dear Pakistan, you are GROSS. Clean yourself up before it's too late.

Here's the article:

Women’s day in Pakistan: a police officer rapes a 14 year old Christian girl

by Jibran Khan

Bound and helpless, the little girl’s grandparents forced to witness the violence. The doctors refused to lend aid. The police arrest an accomplice, the officer responsible vanishes. Meanwhile, the country celebrated the International Women's Day, with demonstrations and lectures. Awards given to some icons in the struggle for women rights.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - A 14 year old Christian girl was raped by a policeman with an accomplice, at gin point, while in the next room, bound and gagged, her grandparents felt powerless to intervene. The incident occurred on the night between 7 and 8 March in Sheikhupura district, Punjab province, while around the world events were held to celebrate International Women's Day. Even in Pakistan seminars and meetings were held, even President Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday, signed a law to protect women.

On the evening of March 7, 14 year old Kiran (*), originally from Jaranwala, paid a visit to her grandparents who live in the village of Malowal, in a small house not far from the property of a superintendent of police. On the night Nawaz Wahla, a law enforcement official, along with an accomplice Mehboob, a milkman, jumped the fence and broke into the house. According to the newspaper The Express Tribune reports they tied up the grandparents and repeatedly raped the girl, at gun point.

Once she had escaped, Kiran released the grandparents who have accompanied her to the hospital for medical treatment, however, neither the doctors nor the police wanted to bring relief to the Christian girl, or take action to catch the perpetrators of violence. Only the official opening of the investigation, initiated by a diligent judge allowed the detention of Mehboob - the accomplice - while Nawaz has so far eluded capture.

Yesterday, March 8, meanwhile, across Pakistan events to commemorate International Women's Day were held. In the capital Islamabad, women's organizations sponsored a seminar to enhance the value and role of women in the world. Simultaneously, President Asif Ali Zardari ratified the Law on the National Commission, to assess the status of women's rights in the country, and he ensured that the body will play a crucial role in safeguarding and protecting the rights of women.

However, women's associations contest the claims of institutions emphasizing that laws are not enough, if they are not enforced. In a public meeting held yesterday in Faisalabad, organized by the Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (Awam), activists pointed out that "new and more laws are not enough", but it is the government that "in practice must ensure" the protection of women and their equal rights. Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church (NCJP) was also among the participants and noted that "the number of attacks against women in Pakistan is four times higher than the cases that reported "and many crimes" based on sex pass in silence. "

In Multan, organizations of Catholic women - along with other women's movements - have sponsored a demonstration in the streets. Sr. Margaret, among the participants at the event, stressed that "to celebrate woman, we must also recognize the importance of women". The nun adds that "although there are rules against domestic violence and acid attacks", so far "measures against men" have not been taken. And many women do not even know the existence of the law."

Among the representatives of Pakistani women celebrated today, are 13 year old Malala Yousafzai, a young activist who has fought against aggression of the Taliban in the Swat valley, awarded by the civil society and government. On the Catholic front honors go to Zenobia Richards, a victim of the demolition of a Catholic institution Gosh-e-Aman in Lahore, where she lost her home and many of her possessions. Thanks to the Masihi Foundation she has found a new home.

* The name is fictional to protect the identity of the child.

( Shafique Khokhar collaborated)

PC Inquirer Thanks the Canadian Parliament for Paying Tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti

I personally would like to thank our Member Parliaments -- on behalf of the entire Pakistani Christian community everywhere -- for continuing to raise their voices in Parliament here in Canada to ensure that none of Canada's leaders and all Canadians, ever forget the sacrifices of Shahbaz Bhatti. Their words are powerful and sincere, and their support is so valued by our entire community here in Canada and around the world.

We all hope that this government continues on the right track to support freedom of religion, and condemn extremism, and continues to take REAL action against this; for the benefit of not only the persecuted, but Canadian citizens as well. Canada should remain steadfast in it's values, and learn from it's history, heritage and the conservative principles it was founded on.

Special thanks to Mr. Joe Daniel, Mr. David Anderson, Mr. David Sweet (my own extremely hard working and genuine Member Parliament), & Mr. Bob Dechert.

Left to Right: MP Joe Daniel, MP David Anderson, MP David Sweet, MP Bob Dechert.

Here are some of the debates raised in Parliament from these MPs recently:

 March 2nd 2012
Shahbaz Bhatti

Mr. Joe Daniel (Don Valley East, CPC): 

"Mr. Speaker, I draw the attention of this House to the first anniversary of the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister of Minorities. He was only 42 years old when his life was brutally cut short. He was a remarkable man who fought for religious freedoms in Pakistan. He was a man of valour and courage who stood for the rights of minorities. His death was a huge loss, as he was a man who fought to make Pakistan a much better place.

A year ago, our Prime Minister called the killers gutless and this House passed a motion condemning his murder. I commend his brother, Paul Bhatti, for taking up his brother's cause as a special advisor on minorities to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and as a leader of the All Pakistan Minority Alliance.

Our government supports religious freedoms around the world. I extend my personal and deepest condolences to his family, sisters and brothers, especially his brother Peter Bhatti, as they commemorate the tragic anniversary this evening in Mississauga."

Religious Freedom

Mr. David Anderson (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, CPC):  

"Mr. Speaker, today is the World Day of Prayer and the first anniversary of the death of Pakistan's federal Minister of Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti.

Mr. Bhatti, a Christian, was assassinated for being one of the country's few influential politicians prepared to speak out against Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. His visit to our human rights subcommittee shortly before his death left an indelible mark on many of us in this House, strengthening our resolve to fight for human rights and religious liberty around the world.

I call on members of Parliament and Canadians to promote religious freedom through the rule of law. The theme of this year's World Day of Prayer, “Let Justice Prevail”, reminds us of the sacrificial work of the martyred defenders of minority rights such as Minister Bhatti.

To honour and respect his memory, on April 2 my office will once again be hosting in Ottawa a parliamentary forum on religious freedom. We will be discussing the issues of religious freedom and governance. Everyone is invited to join with us."

Mr. David Sweet (Ancaster—Dundas—Flamborough—Westdale, CPC):

"Mr. Speaker, a year ago today a tragic shooting in Pakistan sent an ominous message to the world.

It was March 2, 2011 when Shahbaz Bhatti, a Christian minister in Pakistan's government, was ruthlessly ambushed and shot dead in the streets of the capital.

We remember his legacy of advocating for peace and religious tolerance under the toughest of circumstances. He stood up for religious minorities and against extremism, and for that he was brutally murdered. 

As Canadians, we must continue to advocate for those in the world who yearn for the freedom of religion and worship, a basic right that we hold so dear but that eludes millions. 

We remember Shahbaz Bhatti's great legacy at a time when another example of intolerance of religious minorities is unfolding in Iran. There have been media reports that Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, jailed for the past two years, has been sentenced to death in Iran for peaceably practising the basic tenets of his faith.

I ask all members to join me in the urgent and renewed appeal for international pressure on the Iranian government on behalf of pastor Youcef Nadarkhani."

March 8th, 2012

(Thanks again to Mr. Dechert for inviting members of ICV including Peter Bhatti (Chair), Daud Bhatti, Vincent Samuel, Phoebe Samuel, Asher Khokhar, & Reuben Charles to sit in on that day's Parliamentary session to hear these remarks).

Religious Freedom

Mr. Bob Dechert (Mississauga—Erindale, CPC): 

"Mr. Speaker, freedom of religion is something that is enjoyed by all Canadians. Canadians practise whichever religion they choose without fear of oppression or silencing by those who disagree with them. Unfortunately, this freedom is not enjoyed throughout the world. 

March 2 marked one year since the horrific murder of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's minister of minority affairs. On March 2, 2011, Minister Bhatti was assassinated by gunmen who ambushed his car in broad daylight. Mr. Bhatti was the only Christian member of Pakistan's cabinet and was assassinated for his strong criticism of Pakistan's blasphemy laws. 

Canadians and the supporters of religious freedoms around the world join with International Christian Voice and Shahbaz Bhatti's Canadian brother, Peter, to ensure that his vision will continue. Tragedies like the murder of Shahbaz Bhatti are what prompted our government to establish the Office of Religious Freedom. Our Conservative government is committed to protecting and defending the rights of religious minorities and monitoring the right to freedom of religion. The Office of Religious Freedom will reflect our commitment to promoting and protecting—"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PC Community Flash - March 2nd, 2012 - ICV Joins the Canadian Pakistani Christian Community in Remembering Martyr Shahbaz Bhatti

On the first anniversary of his death, community and church leaders from all over Ontario and from across the border in the US, came together to celebrate the life and sacrifice of former Minister of Minorities Pakistan, martyr Shahbaz Bhatti. The community was joined by leaders of government, Canadian church leaders, clergy, and dignitaries from human rights organizations, among the over 400 gathered that night. It was an especially difficult evening for the mother of Shahbaz Bhatti, his close friends and family who mourned his loss; tears that have been for the most part, replaced with a hardened determination by all to see that his death will not be lost in stories of those that we lost before him, and the many more we will lose to persecution.

Shahbaz was a unique person. He took time to unite our community into organizations such as the Christian Liberation Front, the All Pakistan Minorities Association (now being headed by his brother Dr. Paul Bhatti, adviser to the President of Pakistan), and here in Canada the International Christian Voice. He then rose to become Minister of Minorities, a decision he did not take lightly. More than this, he took individual interest in people. In the past year, speaking to many people and families that Shahbaz rescued from the perils of persecution, I’ve become more aware of how personal his relationship was to these people; they were not cases to him.

Fellow blogger Babette Francis wrote

He loved working on the front-lines of activism. When Christian villagers of Charsadda, in fear of attack from local extremists, called for help, he traveled to the north-west to be with them. When eight were killed and more than 100 houses destroyed in 2009 in Gojra, Punjab, Bhatti (then a government minister) refused to leave the police station until the crimes were registered. 

I remember now speaking with a father: Mr. Munir's daughter was in one of the most disturbing cases of persecution I could imagine with my limited understanding of evil. She was raped at 3 or 4 years old; torn apart and left to bleed in a field as her father watched the disgusting perpetrator run off. I am amazed, knowing that women far stronger and far older who go through atrocities like this are not able to survive... somehow thank God, she survived. Her father told us how Shahbaz came to help them the moment he found out about what happened, how he held the girl in his arms for hours and wept for her; how he went from place to place trying to help their child receive medical treatment; how he didn’t just hide the family, he hid WITH them in basements and different homes. Without his giving them strength, they would not have survived; they would not be here today in Canada.

What a man.

If I found that just this family was affected like they were by Shahbaz Bhatti, I would admire him for the rest of my life. But there is so much more that my words cannot come close to describing. If a man like any of us who lives in the sin of this world.. who feels the temptations that we all do.. who goes through the same issues, the same problems with others - family/friends/coworkers. If this man who dealt not only with victims but with a corrupt and unhelpful government - could put that much effort to save the life of one little girl: What excuse do you have not to do the same?

I know I have none.

I was honored to have hosted the evening with family friend Raheel Masih; and with the assistance of our behind-the-scenes crew Mr. Vincent Samuel (who kept things on track and kept details of everyone that came in to be recognized, impossible to do without him), Daud Bhatti (on his feet the entire night lining up speakers), and Nitasha Bhatti/Zarin Arif (our audio-visual stars, overcoming issue after issue to ensure that videos were on cue).

My greatest thanks to all of them. I am blessed to have such a reliable group of people around me; who know when to stop and pray when it feels like it's raining problems.